Voltaire, the famous French philosopher, once said: “I wish I had never been born.” Jay Gould, the famous American philanthropist, said when he was dying: “I suppose I am the most miserable man ever to live.” Benjamin Disraeli, the famous prime minister of Great Britain wrote: “Youth is a mistake, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.” Very gloomy words from men who made their mark in the world. But listen to some brighter words from the apostle
Paul, another famous man, near the end of his life: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day” (2 Tim. 4: 7-8).
What enabled Paul to be cheerful, and rise above the gloom and pessimism many people feel at the end of their lives, and kept him from being a bitter old man? Not wealth, he didn’t have much money. Not popularity, many people hated him. Not a life of comfort, his life was filled with hardships. In fact, he was in prison, awaiting execution, when he wrote those hope-inspiring words. It was his faith in Jesus! Because he was a Christian, his life had real meaning, and the end of his life was not gloomy and fearful. That’s what Paul meant when he said: “There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me.” Jesus makes the same promise to you and me, because Paul also said the crown of righteousness was not to him only “but unto all them that love His appearing.”
Don’t live the kind of life that leaves you an embittered, pessimistic old man or woman. You can serve God, and at the end of your life, you can look backwards without regrets, and look forward without fear. It is your choice. Think on these things. < Dennis Abernathy / White Oak church of Christ>
DINNER OF HERBS OR FATTED CALF
Proverbs 15: 17 contains this thought-provoking observation: “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.” A “dinner of herbs” is the kind of meal poor peasants would normally eat. Some translations call it a “meal of vegetables.” A “fatted calf,” on the other hand, depicts the “centerpiece of a sumptuous banquet.” Thus, when the Bible says, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred,” God is telling us that love is so important to one’s life it makes poor circumstances better than a loveless life with great wealth.
Wise men know this proverb is true. We’ve all heard of wealthy people who are miserable—rich couples, whose love for each other, turned to hatred. They live in mansions, surrounded with finery, eat at tables with filet-mignon, but the love and closeness they once had is gone. Now they spend their days trying to ignore and avoid each other!
So yes, its still true that “a dinner of herbs where love is,” is better than a fatted calf with hatred. It is also true that God’s Word can help people learn how to have real love for others and inspire more love in others. In fact, under the right circumstances it can even restore love to broken marriages.
One final word to those who are newly-weds. Don’t fall into the trap of neglecting your marriage as you scramble around trying to get more things. Remember, love with privations is better than hatred with superfluity. What is the use of the fatted-calf in the stall, if hatred makes a hell of the home? Material success is not wrong, but don’t let die, the love that can turn every simple meal into a banquet, while you are looking for the fatted-calf! Think on these things. < Dennis Abernathy >